Target: Kerry Doughty, CEO of Butterball Turkeys
Goal: Improve animal welfare standards in Butterball turkey hatcheries
An animal rights group has allegedly uncovered cruel treatment of animals at yet another Butterball turkey hatchery. This is the third consecutive year of scandal for Butterball, the largest supplier of turkeys in the United States. Evidence shows that many of the careless and torturous practices at the company’s supplying hatcheries have continued unhindered despite previous public outcry and cruelty convictions.
Video evidence from a Butterball hatchery in Raeford, North Carolina, shows young turkeys being roughly taken from their shells and placed onto a conveyor belt to be sorted. They are then sexed, and hung by their necks to have their beaks cut and burned. This is followed by the removal of a portion of the turkeys’ feet, in order to reduce the likelihood that the turkeys will harm themselves or others during their stressful stays at factory farms. During this process, they are thrown, mishandled, and often caught in machinery and killed. Severely injured birds are thrown into a macerator where they are ground up alive. Those that survive are sent to factory farms, where they face cramped and filthy conditions for the remainder of their lives.
In previous years, Butterball factory workers have been convicted of animal cruelty for their displays of extreme cruelty and maltreatment. While Butterball has conducted an internal review of the evidence, a spokesperson insists that the appalling practices shown are industry norms.
These so-called industry norms allow fragile young birds to be treated with the same care as plastic nicknacks in a manufacturing plant, and result in unnecessary stress and injury. As the leading producer of turkey in the United States, Butterball should go above and beyond industry animal handling standards and become a leader in compassion for the birds in its care. Your signature will demand an internal review of handling practices complete with recommendations on how injury and death can be reduced in Butterball hatcheries.
Dear Kerry Doughty,
Recent video evidence captured in a Butterball turkey hatchery shows baby turkeys, or poults, being roughly taken from their shells, carelessly tossed around, and their feet and beaks mutilated. Those that sustain severe injury during this process are sent to a macerator where they will be ground up alive, while those that survive are shipped to factory farms to endure a lifetime of stress and maltreatment.
While a Butterball spokesperson insists that the factory is compliant with industry standards, it is clear that much of the injury and distress caused to these young turkeys could be avoided with a little extra care by factory employees. As the top producer of American turkeys, Butterball should excel in all aspects, including careful and humane handling procedures. We, the undersigned, urge you to conduct a review of hatchery procedures in order to determine how injury and death can be reduced at Butterball hatcheries.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Mercy for Animals via Creative Commons